It’s also the tallest summit in its group known as the Rosengarten, located in the North West part of the Dolomites.
The fact that reaching the top is easily accessible to the beginners of the Via Ferrata World makes it an excellent possibility to bag one of the highest summits in the Dolomites.
Via Ferrata Catinaccio D’Antermoia – the Stats:
Time required: 3-4 hours (excluding the approach to the hut)
Elevation gain: ca. 400 m / 1300 ft (from the hut)
Route difficulty: beginner
Getting to the start of the via ferrata Catinaccio D’Antermoia
It’s quite the hike to get to Passo Principe where the via ferrata to the summit of Catinaccio officially starts. A taxi shuttle used to operate to Rifugio Gardeccia, helping tourists to skip the not-so-exciting part of the hike, but it has been recently canceled.
The quickest way now is to take the cable car from Vigo di Fassa and walk 2,5 hours along a well-maintained path. First, follow the signs for rifugio Gardeccia.
From Rifugio Gardeccia take the path nr 546 and follow the signs for Rifugio Vajolet (around 1 hour). Make sure to make a brief stop here to admire the beautiful Vajolet towers visible to the left.
The route then continues upward onto path nr 584 for another hour to Rifugio Passo Principe (Grassleitenpasshütte) – one of my favorite mountain hut in the Dolomites.
The summit of Catinaccio will eventually be directly in front of you. I remember looking at it the first time and thinking to myself, am I really going to summit that? It looks scarier than it is!
Although everything is very well marked, it’s always best to visualize your journey so I recommend carrying a map with you. In this case, Tobacco map no. 6 will do the job.
Alternatively, you can reach Passo Principe along via ferrata Passo Santner. I have done it myself as part of the multiday hut-to-hut traverse of the Rosengarten group in the Dolomites. This is a great option if you plan an overnight stay in one of the many rifugios operating in the area.
Via Ferrata Catinaccio D’Antermoia: Route Description
Once you make it to Passo Principe, stand on the helipad with your back facing the hut. Directly in front of you is the scree path going up which you will have to take. Turn left and follow the ledge and the prominent red paint marks until you reach a ladder.
Once you counterintuitively downclimb a ladder, the route continues up in big zigzags.
There are quite a few exposed sections on this via ferrata, but they are all very well-equipped with cables. Make sure to always clip in. On each via ferrata I have done there was always at least one remembrance plaque somewhere along the way with a name and photo of the fallen victim.
With every meter of elevation that you gain, the views just get better and better. You will be able to look down upon the path you hiked on to reach Passo Principe, as well as get a perfect glimpse of the heart of the Rosengarten group.
The last 50 meters leading to the summit cross are very exposed and the cables disappear. I would lie if I said I wasn’t feeling a bit scared. Just make sure you go slowly and place your feet steadily.
From the summit you will be able to look down to lake Antermoia, Marmolada – Dolomite’s highest peak and Sassolungo – the prominent peak and one of the most iconic photo subjects in the area.
Of course it wouldn’t be Italy, if there wasn’t a cross at the top!
The descent is just on the other side of the mountain and similarly to the ascent it’s clearly signalled with red paint marks. In circa one hour you will make it down to Antermoia valley (Val D’Antermoia), which you could see from the summit.
From here you have to continue upward on path 584 to Passo Antermoia then down to rifugio Passo Principe.
I highly recommend staying overnight in the rifugio. Not only it is the coolest building structure I have seen in the Dolomites, it also has the nicest atmosphere, very cheerful owner and a cute Border Collie named Chiaco to keep you company!
Shop my via ferrata gear essentials
Black Diamond Helmet
Rockfall is a major concern on via ferrata routes. Unbeknownst to you, other climbing groups above you may accidentally dislodge a small rock and send it hurtling down the mountain. If it hits you on the head it could have serious consequences. A helmet placed on your head (not inside your backpack) is a must!
Black Diamond Momentum Harness
Another must-have on a via ferrata route is a climbing harness. A harness works as an anchor point for your via ferrata lanyard. Make sure to try it on first before your trip to ensure it fits snugly without limiting your movements. Aim for a lightweight harness, that will be comfy to wear between the cable-protected sections when you are hiking.
Edelrid, Camp or Black Diamond Via Ferrata Lanyard
A via ferrata lanyard connects the climber and their harness to the cables along the route. Its two arms and a hidden extra coil work as an energy absorption system in case of a fall, by reducing the stress on the climber. The two carabiners at the end of the lanyard are used to clip into the cable. Make sure the carabiners are equipped with the palm squeeze mechanism. It’s the safest and most comfortable.
Black Diamond Crag Gloves
The gloves are meant to protect your hands from any cuts and scratches you may otherwise get if you haul yourself on the cable without them. Personally, I prefer full-fingered gloves for extra protection against blisters.
Reeloq Smartphone Securing System
If you want to be able to take great photos on a via ferrata and not worry about losing your phone, Reeloq is the best tool for it. It’s a smartphone-securing system, that will allow you to use your phone on any of your adventures. This has been a great addition to my tool arsenal.
Shop on: REELOQ (Europe only)
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